Soon you'll be able to correct Google's name pronunciations

Voice Match Assistant
Voice Match Assistant (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google may soon add a feature that lets you speak a name pronunciation to teach it.
  • Currently you can spell a name phonetically to force a better pronunciation.
  • The new feature appears in source code but has not yet made it to beta.

Intrepid sleuths at XDA-Developers have uncovered code in the latest Google App, buld 10.93, that may be part of a new feature to improve the apps pronunciation abilties when it comes to proper names. Right now if your name is hard for Google to pronounce (I often hear "bur-NAY" instead of "BURN"), your best option is to find the Nickname settings and enter a more transliteral spelling that forces Google to say it the way you prefer. Quite inelegent.

Google Assistant Pronounce

Source: XDA-Developers (Image credit: Source: XDA-Developers)

The new feature gives you the option to "record your own" pronunciation. It is unclear what happens then, once Google has a recording. At best there will be some sort of AI methodology to analyze the way you pronounce the name, then transpose your pronunciation onto the Assistant's voice. At worst it may just play the recording of you reading your own name, but that seems unlikely.

A better question will be whether Google will use this newfound knowledge for all of the other mispronounced victims of the world. Will Google uncover regional preferences for names and adapt accordingly? Also, with this capability it still remains to be seen whether Google will allow you to train pronunciation for other names or just your own. The feature is currently only showing up in code, so it may appear in beta soon.

Philip Berne